Tag Archives: heavy metal

Cast Iron: Bullet for My Valentine’s The Poison (Episode 4)

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Some of you might not be aware that I (Lewis) also take part in a metal podcast called Cast Iron with a good friend (Alan). In each episode we take a retrospective look at a metal album and pick it apart, learning about our personal music tastes and how well it holds up in the process. We’ve managed to feature 3 British metal albums in our journey so far. Those include Iron Maiden, SikTh and with our latest episode we’ve now added Bullet for My Valentine to the list.

We’d really appreciate the support and you can now listen to the Bullet for My Valentine episode on The Poison by clicking here. You can also subscribe to podcast updates via iTunes, like us on Facebook and follow us on both Twitter and Tumblr.

A lot of time and love goes into this so if you enjoy it then please tell your mates and pop a review on our iTunes entry as it helps get us more exposure and to be quite frank, the state of heavy music podcasts on iTunes at the moment is a bit dire. Let’s make it better.


News: Christopher Lee Passes Away

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Christopher Lee has passed away.

While Lee is famous for his many acting roles which include Count Dracula, Scaramanga, King Haggard and Saruman, he is also known as a heavy metal vocalist and released two symphonic metal concept albums about King Charlemagne under his own name.

Christopher Lee was 93 at his time of passing and leaves behind an enduring legacy. UK Scumscene sends our deepest sympathies to Lee’s friends and family.


News: We’re Now a Part of a Metal Podcast Called Cast Iron

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We interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast to tell you about a podcast that we’re a part of!

Myself and Alan Williamson have started a podcast about metal albums called Cast Iron. In each episode we tackle a modern or classic metal album and dissect what we both like (or dislike) about the record. In the first episode we talk about Iron Maiden’s Powerslave and you can hear what we thought about by clicking here.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by clicking here or RSS by clicking here. You can also follow our general activities on the podcast’s website which can be found by clicking here. Please check it out and if you have any feedback then you can fire over any comments to our Facebook page or our Twitter.


Review: XII Boar’s Pitworthy

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It’s been 2 years since XII Boar piqued our interest with their Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof EP but now the band have returned with their first long-player and it’s got the rather bold title of Pitworthy. If that doesn’t indicate a record promising a collection of songs that’ll make you move then I don’t know what is.

XII Boar are still making their special blend of bluesy, groovy rock with a touch of metal (think Black Spiders wrestling with Panic Cell) and it’s still as engrossing as ever. Opening track Sharpshooter bursts out the gates with a riff that is going to ignite their fans into a feeding frenzy and it’s a joy to listen to.

Things continue in a similarly riff-heavy fashion. XII Boar have a real knack for writing a great slab of hard rock that’s stuffed full of hooks and their music has a strangely danceable quality to it. If you put The Schaeffer Boogie on in any of the UK’s many rock clubs it would have the whole place humming along to the melody in no time.

Unfortunately, Pitworthy suffers from a problem that the band didn’t have to worry about previously thanks to the shorter length of their EP. By the album’s half way point you’ve heard everything XII Boar have to offer. I was suffering from some painful fatigue during the middle of Pitworthy and when Tommy Hardrocks gleefully barks, “bitch” I was beginning to worry why a band needs to use a sexist slur in 2015. It isn’t shocking anymore and it’s simply quite embarrassing to hear such sloppy lyricism.

The final nail in the coffin comes with the last song on the album. The song in question is called Quint and it shows an incredibly self-indulgent side to XII Boar that is completely unnecessary and dull to listen to. The tighter more direct song-writing that’s explored through most of the album is completely dumped in favour of an eleven minute desert rock jam that’s so bloated it might burst due to overindulgence.

XII Boar were so very close to making a hard rock debut that would be remembered for decades. The band have a wonderful sound that’s stupidly fun to listen to and when they get it right their music is full of groove and enough hooks to fill a butcher’s pantry. Sadly, Pitworthy becomes a tiresome and bloated experience that indulges in extended desert rock jams far too often. When XII Boar pack all their ideas into shorter songs they’re absolutely on fire but sadly these songs only take up half the record. A missed opportunity.

6/10

XII Boar’s Pitworthy is released independently by the band on the 9th of March. You can pre-order it direct from the band by clicking here.


Review: Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters’ Earth Hog

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I don’t usually like to refer to music as “stoner” because I think it’s quite a disparaging term that implies the music has no artistic merit, but when your band is called Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters I think it’s safe to say that you’re pretty happy with having your music referred to as “stoner”.

So this is the first mini album by Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters (referred to as Chubby from hereon), it’s called Earth Hog and it’s a beautiful blend of groovy stoner rock and Sabbath-esque heavy metal. The first thing you’ll notice about Earth Hog is that it rocks harder than a ten ton boulder crashing down an active volcano.

Riffs come thick and fast on Earth Hog and they’re drenched in snarling overdrive. The guitar is also bolstered by some superb, low-end basslines which might lead to some unfortunate trouser accidents. The record manages to rumble along at a fair old pace which is at odds with your usual stoner rock experience and it’s absolutely invigorating to hear.

What Chubby manage to do with each of the five songs on Earth Hog is staggering. They all kick off with a groove so massive it could shake a house to pieces and then they build into a more psychedelic and progressive affair but without meandering around with no purpose. Despite the songs averaging around five minutes a piece, each is a rollicking beast of a tune that is full of great melodies and they never outstay their welcome.

Earth Hog is such a wonderfully fat, chunky beast of a record. The grooves sway effortlessly throughout the entire album and the production job by Sam Thredder of Slabdragger fame is the sweet, little cherry on the top (albeit a massive, overripe one). There’s so much weight to this record and it suits the wonderful, riff-laden nature of Chubby’s music perfectly.

Earth Hog is an easy recommendation to make. If you’ve ever enjoyed a riff that might result in whiplash then Chubby have delivered an absolute haven of guitar wizardry. Earth Hog is loaded with some of the best grooves stoner rock has to offer and it’s one of the most satisfying debuts of any band.

9/10

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters’ Earth Hog is out now. You can download it direct from the band by clicking here. A CD and cassette release is scheduled for March.


Review: Chasing Dragons’ Checkmate

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Modern metal is a bit tiring isn’t it? I don’t mean to be a grumpy bastard but Bullet for My Valentine, Glamour of the Kill and Avenged Sevenfold all sound incredibly similar yet modern metal bands are obsessed with sounding like them. Can’t these bands try and add something different into their mix to help them stand out a little better? A different vocalist isn’t really that defining a feature.

Well according to Chasing Dragons having a female vocalist is the answer, except it isn’t. Chasing Dragons sound like Bullet for My Valentine, Glamour of the Kill and Avenged Sevenfold and they bring nothing to the table that hasn’t already been done. The band make the sort of fist-pumping, stadium metal that all these bands have been peddling for years and while they have a knack for writing a catchy melody, you’ve simply heard it all before.

The problem with Chasing Dragons’ new EP Checkmate is that despite all the similarities it has to other bands, it’s difficult to dislike. Chasing Dragons are clearly decent song writers as they turn out catchy pop metal anthem after another and some of the guitar solos like the ones on That’s Not Love and For the Sake of Murder are absolutely brilliant.

So why are the band using this talent to make such completely unimaginative and uncreative pop metal for the masses and where are the elements that make the band sound like them? They’re missing and this is Chasing Dragons biggest problem. If you told me these songs were made by Halestorm or In This Moment I’d have a hard time telling you otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with sounding like two of the biggest bands in pop metal right now but if that’s all that you’ve got going for you then why should I listen to your band specifically?

Regardless if you like this type of music then Chasing Dragons certainly deliver 5 songs of mindless air guitar metal for you to sing into a mirror. Guitarist Mitch has some brilliant old school heavy metal riffs in his arsenal and the guitar work on Broken Jaws makes it a real rocker. Drummer Kate is also a beast behind the kit and the pace of Checkmate is always frantic outside the ill-advised ballad The Last Defence. Vocalist Tank also has a decent set of lungs on her and her powerful yet raspy vocals deliver some seriously hook-laden choruses.

The band are clearly aiming big because the production is nice and bright which means the drumming pops and the bass is satisfyingly chunky. All the elements are here to bring Chasing Dragons in line with the biggest bands in modern metal, but for those of us looking for something more than another Avenged Sevenfold clone, Chasing Dragons just can’t deliver.

Checkmate is a competent pop metal EP with big riffs, catchy choruses and some great solos. I’m sure it probably has a pretty large appeal to fans of the genre but quite frankly the genre has outstayed its welcome and bands like Chasing Dragons are just going to be swallowed up in the festering cess-pit of pop metal. I’d be intrigued to hear what the band do next because if they can add some elements that make them sound a little more unique then they’d be a force to be reckoned with. ‘Til next time, Chasing Dragons.

6/10

Chasing Dragons’ Checkmate is out now and available to buy direct from the band.


Review: In Search of Sun’s The World is Yours

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In Search of Sun is a 5 piece heavy metal band from London making the sort of music that would make Panic Cell, Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold proud. Previously known as Driven, the band have gone through a stylistic change that sees them moving away from their earlier metalcore roots (hence the change in band name) and The World is Yours mark’s the band’s debut album.
The World is Yours is an album built around big vocal melodies and bass-heavy grooves. The songs are structured in a pretty traditional manner that favours verses and choruses so don’t expect anything too progressive from the band.

What really makes the music on The World is Yours shine is the wonderful vocal work by frontman Adam Leader (surely the most appropriate name for a lead singer ever). Leader has a beautifully flexible voice that moves between abrasive yell and soaring croon with ease and you can really visualise the vocalist commanding a massive crowd. It helps that Leader’s melodies and superbly strong and the choruses on the album will stick with you long after the album has finished.

The band are also pretty comfortable dropping in some thrash influences into their music with the lovely galloping shred at the start of 51 56 being a great highlight as well as the opening riff to Idle Crown. These moments of guitar prowess put In Search of Sun in a league of their own and its riffs like these that the band need to focus on bringing to the forefront more often.

Bizarrely the instrumentation often feels quite sparse. Despite having two guitarists in their midst, In Search of Sun often let the lead guitars jangle gently over a thunderous bass-line like at the beginning of In Search of Sun (yes, there’s a song confusingly named after the band). This wouldn’t be such an issue if the song was actually doing something a little more gripping. In Search of Sun are very keen to fix their tempos into a rather unimaginative mid-pace that never really allows the music the freedom to grab you by the balls and let loose with a really rocking riff. This really damages songs like In Search of Sun because the track is drawn out for over 6 minutes and despite an impressive guitar solo it rarely moves away from its quite traditional structure.

The major problem with In Search of Sun is just how similar they sound to many other modern metal bands bothering the charts right now. This is a real shame because it’s clear the band have a knack for writing a decent riff and a great chorus but they need to be more daring to drop into different tempos and get more adventurous with their guitar work because bassist Faz Couri often has to carry the songs. In fact, Couri is so prominent in the mix that I wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of the band’s main songwriters.

The World is Yours is a strong modern metal offering from a promising new band. It often succeeds thanks to the massive choruses courtesy of vocalist Adam Leader but the music is too unimaginative to hold your attention for the full 48 minutes. In Search of Sun could really do with stepping up the pace a bit because as To the Axe manages to prove in its fifth minute, the band is vastly more exciting to listen to when they get nice and thrashy. It’s moments like this that justify the band having 5 members because it’s too often the case that the music is very minimalist like in the album’s ballad Skin. In Search of Sun have all the potential to be an incredibly exciting band but at the moment they haven’t quite figured out how to do this.

6/10

In Search of Sun’s The World is Yours is released through Raging Demon Entertainment and Plastic Head Distribution on September 1st.


Review: Die No More’s Blueprint

Oh boy. Right, let’s address the elephant in the room; Die No More like Metallica. A lot. They also like the “Rock-tallica” era of the band’s career as well. I’m telling you this because Die No More’s Blueprint EP takes so many cues from everything Metallica have done since The Black Album that I dare say the band are ripping them off.

I don’t want to label a band a straight rip-off and Die No More could’ve gotten away with simply being a decent heavy metal band, but vocalist and rhythm guitarist Marc Farquhar adds some rather Hetfield-esque inflections to his vocals and it means his band aren’t going to escape the Metallica comparison any time soon. Nightmares is so painfully close to Metallica’s signature sound (just listen to those woahs) that you could easily mistake it for a Metallica b-side.

This is a massive shame as well because Die No More have chops. The songs on Blueprint are full of great riffs and melodies that showcase the band’s superb song writing. The real shining light comes in the form of lead guitarist Kev Smith who pulls off some incredible solos. My jaw was on the floor when the Council of War solo kicked into gear. Mr Smith is an extremely talented guitarist who I can see making a big name for himself in the future. Watch this space.

But as mentioned before, Die No More sound far too close to the band they’re clearly the most influenced by. Everyone likes to pay tribute to their heroes but Die No More are just too close in style to Metallica to justify being a different band. There isn’t much the band need to do in order to differentiate themselves either. If Farquhar just tweaked his vocals in a way that made him sound more like himself then Die No More would instantly avoid the Metallica comparison, but as the band are now they simply won’t avoid being labelled a rip-off and that’s a damn shame as Blueprint showcases a huge amount of potential.

6/10

Die No More’s Blueprint EP is released digitally on the 9th of September.


News: Iron Knights Return With New Line-Up and New Song

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London metal mob Iron Knights are back after some changes in their line-up. The band seem to have also dropped their Nazi-vampire shtick in favour of being a traditional heavy metal band. Iron Knights have also released the first taster of their direction ongoing in the form of a new song available for free download called Destroyer. Trust me when I say it’s an absolute belter.

Click here to be taken to Iron Knights’ official website where you can download Destroyer for free.

Iron Knights have also revealed that they are currently writing for a new album due for release in early 2014. The band’s new line-up will debut live at the Swordbrothers Festival in Andernach, Germany on September 14th.


News: Bassist Leaves Sacred Mother Tongue

Josh Gurner, bassist for Sacred Mother Tongue has left the band to focus on his other band Hacktivist. Des Jones who previously covered for Gurner during the band’s tour with Ill Nino will once again be filling in for upcoming shows until a permanent bassist can be found.

Interested in auditioning as Sacred Mother Tongue’s bassist? You will need the following:

1) a short CV or brief history of your musical experience,
2) tell us your location,
3) whether you have transport
4) and any other major commitments,
5) links to websites and/or recorded music and/or live or performance videos of bands you’ve previously played in
6) a video introduction of yourself and short performance of a piece of your choice
7) a brief run down of the gear you currently use

Send applications to info@transcendmusic.com.

UK Scumscene wishes Josh all the best in his future endeavours. Check out Hacktivist’s latest video below: